SA Spooner’s commission for this project was to replace an historic fire surround which had been stolen from the clients’ home. This was one of many architectural items stolen. Through the insurance process we were asked to cost and make a copy of the missing fireplace. As the clients had not liked the original, it was agreed that the replacement could be of a different design.
The brief was to provide a piece which would not look out of place but ‘would have a voice’.
An initial design was drawn up and accepted by both insurers and clients. A full, measured survey was then made of the area to be remodelled. In liaison with the clients and the company supplying the fireplace, a full size rod (design board) with all details and sizes were drawn for the clients’ approval. (see – Methods of Design – for more information about ‘rods’).
The design incorporates columns with Ionic capitals in front of flat pilasters of same design, both with fluting. The curved panelled hood is supported by its smaller turned columns of the Ionic order. The hood and mantle are detailed with moulded cross banding, delivered and fitted by us, and finished with one coat of sealer. The complete surround was allowed to settle prior to colour matching – also by us.
We were invited by a new client via recommendation, to offer a design and price for a new fireplace surround. The room was already stripped back to bare bones. After discussions with the clients, a design was produced, together with material samples. These were presented to the clients at a follow-up measured survey meeting on site.
The surround, made using English walnut, is based on a layered pilaster design with a curved apron below the mantle shelf. The client’s crests were reproduced in boxwood from heraldic family scrolls. The complete surround was finished with a French polish prior to fitting, and waxed once in place.
A unique commission; SA Spooner was asked if we would make a fireplace which was playful instead of the traditional inglenook style of brackets and panels. The clients wanted to include country elements from the surroundings of their family farmhouse in Surrey.
A design and budget were drawn up and presented to the clients at a second meeting. After the refinements were made and direction and measurements checked, the mantle was crafted in the workshop.
The fireplace is made from English oak. Planks were used for the trees which are made hollow, this aids with the changing temperatures affecting the fireplace. The animals are full size and carved from English oak.
Once finished, the whole project was mocked up in the workshop before being taken and fitted on site.
This project was for a replacement fire surround for one stolen from the same premises as another of SA Spooner’s projects – the Richmond surround which can also be seen at top of page.
We worked with the insurance company and clients throughout this unpleasant time to replace the stolen fire surrounds and fireplaces with the least fuss and disruption to our clients’ lives as possible.
The size and shape of the surround for this period piece was measured using witness marks left by the original surround; paint and dirt lines are very useful and can give the information needed to reproduce a 3D item. Using information from the original location and old photos, a rod drawing was produced ( ‘Methods of Design) for the clients and insurers to consider.
Once this was agreed, the surround was made in mahogany and then veneered in Mahogany to achieve the closest grain pattern match to the original as possible. A moulding was then carved and fitted. The whole surround was French polished to match the remaining room panelling. As the left hand side of the surround was closer to the window, the wood on this side of the original surround would have been lighter. To ensure accurate reproduction, this lightening of the wood was reproduced into the same side of the replacement surround.